Scammers have always been active, since recently however they have started to target the language industry more and more. A scam is an attempt to gain the trust of the person or victim in order to defraud the person. Scammers found a great new market; the language industry. Both agencies and independent linguists have become targets.
One of the most common technique when targeting the language industry is the use of a so called Nigerian Check scam or also known as 419 Scams. 419 Scams are the most common confidence tricks. The 419 Scams actually have a lot of different varieties, the Nigerian Check belonging to the more popular ones. The number 419 refers to the article in the Nigerian Criminal Code which deals with Fraud.
The Nigerian Check Scam
The Nigerian check scam starts with a potential client, often an individual but agencies started to show up as well, who sends a mass email asking for interpreting/translating services in the victim’s country. These potential clients are often willing to pay nearly double the normal fees. Hence the reason why people respond to these questions. If they get a response they will agree immediately and try to make an advance payment. Normally within a few days the target will receive a cheque with the advance payment to deposit in a bank. The scammer will always rush the target into depositing the cheque in the bank. As soon as the cheque is deposited the victim will immediately have the money available, making this whole agreement look innocent because the money is actually in the hands of the target. The ‘client’ will shortly after the deposit, cancel the job for any reason and ask for a refund. The target is still unknown and refunds the money. The trick behind the scam is that the money is asked to be refunded through a wire transfer. Wire transfers are impossible to reverse and cannot be traced. So far it all seems good, money was delivered, cheque was deposited, and the money was refunded; no problem there. The key point to this scam is that the cheque is fake. Cheques typically need 7-10 days before they are cleared and completely checked, the funds however are available within 1-5 days. Sooner or later the bank will find out that the cheque is fake and reverse the initial transaction, leaving the victim in debt because of the prior refund.
Though it seems as a watertight scam it is often characterized by several things making it more easy to distinguish if it is a scam or if it truly is a new customer:
· Poor English
· Gmail or other ‘anonymous’ email accounts
· High fees offered
· Lack of contact data
· Payment through cheques
This scam is called The Nigerian check for a reason, often the scammer is living in Nigeria. Poor English should easily be spotted by translators. These scammers often use a Gmail account or another mystery account you have never seen before. It happened before that scammers used All the data from a legit agency except they made use of a slightly different Email address, have a careful look into the email address which is used. These scammers often offer high fees to make it more attractive to react on the emails. The number one tip to prevent yourself from falling for a Nigerian Check Scam is to never use cheques as a payment method. Below helpful websites can be found to avoid scams.
Author: Henk Limpers